Ending the Lockdown: Finding a Safe Exit Strategy?

Leo Olivero

Two important issues are now at the forefront of most Covid related questions, not only from the media and public perspective but also from businesses and like. These questions involve the end of the lockdown and the state of the economy. The same questions are also being asked in Gibraltar?

The High Cost of Getting Covid Health Care Ready - But Time to Re-evaluate Status Quo

Covid-19 has affected every corner of the world. Unless of course, you live in an Alaskan outback and your nearest neighbours are a pack or sleuth of friendly polar bears. Large and small nations, including those developed and less developed countries, have seen their economies grind to a halt; businesses buckling under the strain of lockdowns; in many places, things like toilet paper, hand sanitiser and pasta have become rare valuable and costly commodities. We, luckily, have been spared much of that. But schools, as we know them, have also closeddown, along with major sporting events cancelled and daily life as we know it has literally been socially gazumped. The pandemic has also exposed serious gaps in health services and systems, that have seriously cost nations around the world, including our own, many millions to get ‘health care Covid ready’.

But as we wake-up each morning to the alarming and sometimes surreal Covid experience, it was encouraging to hear over Easter the ‘Queen Elizabeth’ declare that “we will succeed” in the fight against this global crisis. Even if her majesty, was nicely tucked away and speaking from her favourite castle with drawbridge raised. But her words, must have inspired millions, not only in the UK.

It is important that we take the opportunity to re-evaluate the status quo and the current models that support our daily lives and begin to assess the lessons that are already emerging from this catastrophe, while pla-nning the next phase to enable society to move forward!

The world that emerges from the coronavirus pandemic may be an assortment of countries that are more closed off and nationalistic than before. This seems to be the case, if the EU is anything to go by who are in a mess! But, having said that, without rapid and effective global co-operation, few places, will safely exit this crisis.

There has been some heavy-handed nationalist Covid responses predominate in some countries. In others the curfews, lockdowns like in ours, and some governments are closing and have shut borders and are even using wartime rhetoric to rally populations against, what is, an invisible enemy.

Global supply chains and trade have and are being disrupted. Not just by lockdowns, but purposely so, mostly by the wealthier countries’ in competition with less well-off nations to get hold of important lifesaving supplies. Sadly, there’s been a few of those dog-eat-little dog situations!

As suggested, at the start of this report: soon, governments will need to restart the global economy. And that will require international co-operation in several important areas.

Next Phase of Covid Plan Finding a Safe Exit Strategy Including Much More Testing!

Many experts are convinced (though not so much from our own local health experts) where the first crucial element or next phase of a Covid-19 exit strategy is to embark on: A massive national testing programme (for both infection and immunity). The reason is quite simple, so that healthy people can return to work and those who are infected can get appropriate treatment!

Countries will need enough supplies of testing kits and protective equipment, as well as ventilators and access to emerging treatments. From a Gibraltar perspective, we do not appear to have had any problems with protective equipment or with ventilators, so we have been informed.

But where testing, kits/swabs are concerned, it’s been a somewhat different ‘iffy story’ as this newspaper has reported already in previous editions. Mostly regarding swabs, which appears to be an issue and where conflicting opinions and comments during daily press briefings have not helped to make this issue any clearer or convincing?